Music in Bologna, musicians in Bologna.
Wagner in Bologna (4-5 December 1876) Witnesses. Bologna, Accademia Filarmonica 2000, 20 pp.

Richard Wagner a BolognaOn the occasion of the staging of Der Fliegende Hollander by Richard Wagner, opening the 2000-2001 lyrical season of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna, the Accademia Filarmonica, ranging Wagner among its most prestigious members, has awarded Eva Wagner Pasquier, the great composer’s great-granddaughter, with the honourary membership (29 November 2000).

In order to commemorate this event, the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna has promoted the publishing of an illustrative brochure on Wagner’s short staying in Bologna (4- 5 December 1876), on the basis of  scarcely known or unpublished original proofs. It is a collection of documents most of all taken from newspapers and theatre magazines of that time, which is very relevant as to the city’s musical culture of last century.

After the  great success of the first Italian staging of Lohengrin in Bologna (1 November 1871), Richard Wagner was appointed Bolognese honourary citizen (31 May 1872); Wagner thanked the Bolognese citizens by means of a letter written in Bayreuth on 3 October 1872 which is far too famous to be reported here, saying that he would like to visit the renowned city as soon as possible. The occasion was on 4 December 1876, when Wagner attended one performing of Rienzi conducted by Marino Mancinelli at the Teatro Comunale. That was the only occasion on which Wagner stayed in Bologna; but the great composer’s link with the city, which had staged his operas in Italy for the first time, was very significant. In a letter addressed to Giovannina Lucca from Bayreuth on 28 October 1877, he wrote as follows:

“It is there, in Bologna only, that I have had the opportunity of setting my foot in Italy. In Bologna I have found some true friends, some eminent people indeed, and a whole set of things which could  have persuaded me to take up my residence among such excellent and earnest friends, who were so favourable to my leading idea in art, had it not been too late for me by now”.

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